Lovers are like moths drawn to the flame. Closer and closer they fly in to the welcoming warm glow, unrealizing their singed wings till too late. Then, forgotten is the flight of the free and all that remains is a shell of their former self. It is the same story repeated over and over, as if on rote, but such is the lure that lovers forget all in their frenzied rush for union. Innumerable poets have exalted the ecstasy and agony of love, but only those truly affected understand the highest of highs and depths of despair, and recognize the signs in those similarly affected. Ask Mammo.
Mumtaz may flit around like a ghost, unseen, unheard, unacknowledged, by those who count in the household, but that does not make her blind to what’s happening around her. If Sassi is her daughter, then Qasim is someone she swore to look over, and that she will do – come what may. Her heartbreak, over ordering Qasim to leave the house, spoke to not only how much she understood his plight but also pointed to the depth of her own pain and humiliation. Why would she wish a similar plight for someone she loves like her own. Sassi may be her daughter, but she is first her father’s daughter, and Mammo would never ever want Qasim to suffer anywhere near as much as her.
And because she has loved, truly and fully, Mammo understands well the difference between dil ki lagi and dillagi, that which Khayyam and Sonya are playing at and that which she dismisses with a smile as dil ko behlana. Khayyam may call her jaahil, but this girl is definitely not dumb. She is smarter than all put together, her conversations with bua are testimony to the fact. I love how Kariman bua acts as Mammo’s inner voice, their exchanges more like dialogues with self.
For his part, Khayyam is a man who thinks writing about love makes him an expert on the subject, but has he ever really plumbed the depth of his words? Methinks not. Had he truly understood love he wouldn’t have needed someone else to point out that love is love, irrespective of whether the beloved is a shining star or a dull housewife? That Khayyam is caught up in the superficial points to how much more he is yet to learn, or unlearn as the case may be. Borrow a leaf or two from Mammo’s book, or perhaps Qasim’s even?
Qasim’s breakdown with Sassi was pitch perfect, tension building up till it could be contained no more. His breakdown signalled not his loss of control but more like him having finally reconciled with his feelings for Sassi. He now knew and understood Mammo better, got what she was trying to accomplish by sending him away. He had to get away before he too got his wings singed and lost the ability to fly. Flames have that quality, their glow so magnetic the moth stands no chance, none at all. Blindly it keeps flying into the fire. Can Qasim look away before it is too late?
Sassi is the proverbial beloved. Beautiful but cruel to the point of enjoying the pain she wittingly and unwittingly inflicts. Though still too young to fully understand her power she is old enough to understand the seduction of said power. She enjoys her hold over Qasim and is none too pleased when she sees others trying to catch his eye. Had she been older she would’ve given him just enough to keep him hanging but she’s not there yet. The games she’s playing in trying to set her father up with Sonya, her bright eyed look when she walked in on a shooting and then the little dance movement – all point to Sassi coming of age – very soon. God help every one around her then. But she’s not there yet.
For now, that Qasim is actually contemplating walking out on her has shaken Sassi to the core. But then she would not be her father’s daughter if she showed vulnerability, and so she fights with him. Forcing him to retaliate, beg for her forgiveness, but he does none of that. He walks away. Whether he can stay away is the question.
All in all this was yet another fantabulous episode of O Rungreza. There is so much to be mined here, be it visually, textually or subtextually. Saji Gul’s writing is the real star of the show, a star made that much brighter by a director with an artist’s mind and poet’s heart. Kashif Nisar has done a brilliant job translating a very complex text on to the screen, such that all layers of meaning are not only preserved but actually enhanced. The actors are all at the top of their game making it hard to pick one over the other.
Nauman Ijaz brings Khayyam to life like no other. No one else could have done justice to man as cruel as he is eager to please. Rushing to bring water for his thristy beloved but treating his wife like a disposable tissue, useful only when needed and then easily discarded. Irsa Ghazal is maginificent as Mammo. Sajal Aly is Sassi to a Tee, a girl who is a ticking time bomb. God help those who are around when she lets loose. Bilal Abbas Khan is so very impressive as the awkward, sincere Bilal. He has put in a lot of work to make Qasim believable, giving him softness but yet hinting at an inner strength waiting to be tapped. Sana Fakhar’s Sonya is yet to come into her own. Also deserving of acknowledgment are the editors and the people in charge of the background music – well done guys. Also the DoP, lighting, set design – everything is coming together really well.
All in all well done Team O Rungreza – taaliyan!
Written by SZ~